Stories & Articles

When journos join the thought police, God help us

Vanessa de Largie | The Spectator | December 3, 2019

Is 2019 the death of satire?  Because it’s most definitely the death of comedy.  A comedian’s role used to be to push boundaries — reflecting our flaws back to us via humour but wokeism has destroyed that.

Laughing at ourselves was once used as a balm, however now we require permission from the perpetually offended and magisterial Left.  The denomination of political correctness and identity politics seeks to silence us all as “the spoken word” is now viewed as an act of terrorism.

In early November, someone shared a screenshot of an alleged Guardian column on Facebook titled “White men wearing black socks is undercover racism” by columnist Shaniqua O’Toole. I visited the Guardian website to try and find the article, immediately realising the only tool was me and my gullibility.

Yet when I visited the Shaniqua O’Toole Twitter account (which has since been shut down) I began to feel less idiotic as numerous others had fallen for the parody column as well.

Yesterday was a great example of satire-gone-wrong as Speccie editor, Rowan Dean was trending on Twitter for a satirical column he wrote for the Financial Review about not winning a Walkley Award.

What I found laughable, was the mob that were giving Dean shit were convinced he was unaware that contestants for the Walkleys had to self-nominate.  They truly believed Dean hadn’t done his research before writing the column — morons!

Whether Dean knew how the Walkley awards worked is beside the point.  His column was written to purposely NOT qualify for a Walkley by proposing anti-woke scoops on “gender”, “global cooling” and calling women sheilas. Yet, even those who knew it was satire fixated on Dean’s presumed blunder. So the joke was actually on them.

And that’s the problem with 2019, we are now living in a literalist society where irony, nuance, sarcasm and allegory have no place, crippling creativity and freedom of expression the arts and entertainment industry as Joe Hildebrand pointed out in his most recent column.

The other thing that was amusing about the takedown of Dean on Twitter, was the privileged white Lefties (who are convinced they’re oppressed) criticising Dean for defending the elite. Yet they’re unable to see their own hypocrisy.

A recent study published in October 2019 revealed that individuals participate in cancel culture and moral grandstanding as a way of elevating their social status, because by reporting on the shittiness and misdemeanours of others they ascend upwards while kicking ‘the enemy’ down. Most of these virtue signallers probably don’t give much of a flying fuck about the issues they cover, but it’s a strategy to stay relevant.

Mollycoddled within the safe space of cancel culture, Lefties want to jump off the carousel when they see, hear or experience something uncomfortable.  Life is about discomfort crybabies — as is growth. But really, who needs Samuel Beckett when PC culture has become the theatre of the absurd?

Theoretically, I subscribe to the notion of being respectful to the vulnerable and disadvantaged but the humourless nitpicking over people’s language and deeds can go too far.

When we start digging up tweets from a decade ago to ruin someone’s dream of hosting the Oscars or pulling a 1944 Christmas song off the airwaves because it offends the woke folk.

We have to ask ourselves what does this 24-hour surveillance of our thoughts achieve in the long run except a wall built out of distrust and fear?